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For Members of AUSTRALIAN Antarctic Programs, previously called Australian National Antarctic Research Expeditions (ANARE)
Antarctic Division
State Branches & Regions
Club Berth Representatives

Voyage Representative
Phil Silvestro


2006 Voyage 5 Aurora Australis tasks:      n  Retrieve personnel and light cargo from Casey.

                                                                       n  Deliver runway container to Casey.

                                                                       n  Resupply Macquarie Island.

Day before departure


My wife, Donna, farewelling me in Hobart.



This is the day before we left. As you can see our little red ship looks like a tugboat             
compared to the Diamond Princess. When you get inside the Aurora Australis though,      

the accommodation is just as comfortable and the food is fantastic.                        



Departure Day

After an all morning briefing on Security, communications and environmental procedures, we then spent some time on the ship going through emergency drills.  After this we had some time off to have lunch and returned by 4pm for a 5pm, in the last couple years Security has been tightened & well-wishers have to stay behind the concrete barrier, at 5.00 pm Tony using is 3 trusters moves the Ship from the Wharf & sail to Antarctica at 14-15 kts.


Hi all,

This morning was beautiful, nice clear sky with 2 albatross following the ship, soaring above the water some times only centimetres above the water, and with their giant wings of 3 metres they come within metres of the ship.
The food is great on the Aurora Australis & I might come back looking like a sumo wrestler (Japanese one, you know what I mean).
The temp in Hobart was 17c, water temp 15c, at the moment we are 550km south of hobart & the air temp is 9.5c, water temp is 11.3c, because of the wind the chill factor is -4.1c. Our heading is due South to avoid some bad weather, we currently have 2 to 3 metres swell & everyone on board are feeling good.
I have been talking to a few Expeditioners about the ANARE Club & play my roll to recruit a few members. I have enrolled to take some of the activities below like social events coordinator & show some of my DVDs of my trip to Casey & rigging in Sydney, I hope that they like it.

Regards, Phil.



This is some of the food that we had to force down on the Aurora Australis.




Katrina, Wendy, Paul, Susie,
Shaun and Angela – Kitchen Staff



Hi again all.

The 2nd day the weather started a little overcast but now it is clear. At 10.00am the Captain changed course & we are now heading towards Casey. We are now also getting 4 to 5 metres swell, this is from the low pressure we are trying to avoid.

Out of 61 Expeditioners a couple are not feeling good (touch wood I'm still good). At present we are 1300 km south of Hobart, air temp is 6.8c, water temp 7.2c and the chill factor is -13.3c.

I'm trying to send some photos but we are very restricted on the size of our emails, they said I can send some photos from Casey Base station next week.

Regards Phil.


Hi all,

We passed the halfway point to Casey & our current position is as shown below, we have a 4 to 5 metre swell and that is normal for this Latitude, a couple of people are still sick but the majority are going well. One thing we all do is walk funny, you lift your foot to walk and you don't know where to put it, all depends on the wave, you may put it in front or back to keep your balance. The best way to describe it is like when you come out of the pub & you have had one too many drinks, but it is all part of the fun.

Yesterday I put my name down to give a talk or show DVDs of interest about Antarctica or other. I have got 2 DVDs, one of me working in Antarctica filming the C130 aircraft which is rare film in which I gave a copy to Antarctic Division, and the other DVD is on my work as a Rigger & Dogman, I showed them the Dogman one, some people say they liked it, others said they want me to show it again. This was a good way to introduce myself, so I was happy with that. Most of the Expeditioners know that I'm here for the ANARE Club, and I hope to get a few new members.

Sitrep for Tuesday March 21st
Position 58.16S, 134.51E, heading 230 degs, speed 13 knots, distqnce to next waypoint 808nm (ice edge at 65S 110E), Distance last 24 hours 246nm,
Weather conditions w/sw wind 28 knots, rain and sleet, clearing, air temperature +2.2c, sea temp +4.1c, sea conditions rough confused seas, moderate to heavy confused swell, Ice conditions n/a,

Remarks spirits high- all well on board.

To everyone I hope you are all well too

Regards Phil

more to come


Hi All,

Last night we saw a fantastic display of AURORA, a few of us were on the bridge & in the comfort of 18c temp.  The temp out side was 2c and the chill factor of -19c, but it was so beautiful & I didn't want to go to the cabin to get warm clothes, just in case it disappeared, but instead it went on for 30 minutes across the sky coming & going so we were in & out off the cold looking. It was the best I have seen. I manage to talk to get more kb for my email because of the Club, so now I can send couple of photos.

The boat on 5 metre swell.

Regards Phil.


Hi All, Weather forecast from down South, we had to change Heading due to a gale force 10, & wave up to 12 metres, so now we are going slow & heading North West & away from Casey. Also the weather does not look good at Casey & the Ship is unable to get in close & due to the Ice, it will probably reach 90 km from Casey & will have to pick up 42 expeditionars by Helicopter. This has set the program back & some of us are disappointed, But as the Captain said He doesn't want to make Aurora Australis a winter Station. We can only hope that the weather changes & we can get in closer Regards Phil


Hi All,

Well the Low pressure has passed & we have got some calmer Weather - words could not describe how I feel, I’ve been selected to go on the second trip on the Helicopter. The Ship it can only get within approx. 80km of Casey, so it might be nearly a one hour trip on the Helicopter, I don't know if I can sleep tonight. We had a party today and when you pass the polar circle you get to met King Neptune as you see in the Photo.

Before you get off the ship, Maxine and Tore (in charge of all quarantine) help you to check all your belongings as everything, including clothing needs to go through quarantine – they need to be vacuum cleaned and washed so that no foreign particles are left on Antarctica. This also applies for Macquarie Island.

Regards Phil.


Hi All,

Just arrived at the Pack Ice this morning and the atmosphere on the Ship was very good. Everyone is on a high, it’s hard to explain. Friday we were trying to look for Ice bergs & didn't see much, and this morning we are in the pack ice and it’s fantastic.

Nearly all of us had been awake since about 4am, watching the ship plough through the pack ice, under the flood lights. As the ship slowed down to a stop, we got to see the sunrise and the colour of the ice change from a blue to a snowy white and even a little yellow from the sun’s reflection. It was fantastic. Everyone was clicking their cameras at the 360 degrees view of pack ice. At about 11:15am, Deborah Barrett (from Family and Friends Association) & I were geared up to fly on the helicopter to Casey – approximately 40-45 mins of flight and amazing views.

Into the pack ice.








After nearly 25 years, I’m finally back at Casey, where I spent my summer in 1981/82.  I was working as a rigger here, putting up the steel structures on the green store and other buildings. It’s good to be back. All the accommodation we used to stay in is no longer here, they have now modernised the accommodation and internet facilities – they even have phones in each cabin which is fantastic. Once you get out of the buildings and you go for walks though, you know you’re still in the same environment that you were 25 years ago.  Now they have station limits and you can go up to Reeve’s Hill, on the edge of the building, on the eastern side. You cannot go to the old station without a companion. This helps with safety and helps to prevent injury.  Compared to 25 years ago, there are a lot more machines, a lot more equipment and tools. They have a big project to build a runway down here, this is nearly finished and is about  4 km. long  & 75 kms from Casey Station. They are talking about bringing a C130 plane in  2007, this will make travel to Antarctica a lot quicker.  The station leader, Marilyn Boydell, was very hospitable to all of us and every time I saw her, she always had everything under control. She made our stay at Casey very comfortable. While we were there, we were taken on a group tour of Wilkes which has seen snow melt more than it has in previous years.


Marilyn Boydell.


Virginia Mudie, Barnaby Joyce, and Marilyn Boydell happy after inspecting the new project at the Runway.










Casey Wharf, looking back at the station.

From the new station, looking to the old.

Adelie Penguins





                                                                   Adelie Penguins


Hi All, For the (ANARE Club members) it was good to catch up with Cath, in which most of Casey Personnel had a good time & some want to stay longer. Sorry for no email sooner but, I didn't get any email until I went back on the Ship, last Monday. Since then I have been little busy, I put my name for few social events as you see below + & edit a video for One of the director Virginia Mudie & Barnaby Joyce, this took little while & for me to send a message typing on one finger is a little slow. I'm also restricted now with email & I can send a photo every couple days. I will be able to send some photo from Macquarie Island, meanwhile I have to get ready for the Debate with Barnaby, Tim, Alexis, & Myself we going to meet tomorrow discuss over Breakfast, should be good fun.


Hi All,

This Is couple of days getting out of the pack Ice, it took us 3 hours & avoid small Ice burg for the next 2 hours, most of us did not want to go to dinner because the view was Spectacular, I hope the movie I took is good, meanwhile I hope you are well.

Regards Phil.











 Here I am just after the head count (muster call). Photo by Greg Woods



On the way to Macquarie Island, we had a few games nights to raise money for Camp Quality. We managed to raise $130.00 from the Ice Berg competition, but on the way to Macquarie Island, a lot more came from the quiz competitions, the great debate and the head shaving competition. Approximately $9,000 was raised as a result from Voyage 5 – Fantastic effort.




Hi All,

Here are some photos from Macquarie Island. Beautiful green place, & lot of wild life around the Station, we are staying here for another 2 days then on to Hobart, we been a little busy unloading cargo, most with the Helicopter because there's is little bit of a swell & we unable to use the Barge so the Helicopters Pilots & Inflatable boats are doing a Great job, we pumped 180.000 litres of Diesel to the Station with a 50 mm hose & 1250 metres long as shown in the photos below.  I hope you are well.

Regards Phil.


This is the roll of hose – approx 3kms long.  1250m the hose is already out and we are connecting to the tanks.  This pumps the fuel from the tanks on the ship to the shore.




Photo by Maxine Wolf




Inflatable rubber boats keep an eye on the hose.






Gentoo penguin


King penguin








Elephant seal





Hi All,

I got My little ANARE board up & tonight I signed 2 more members hope to get more.









Unloading cargo from the Aurora Australis.

 Regards Phil



Hi All,

At the moment we are at Macquarie Island we have been here for 4 days, unloading & backloading cargo from Thursday afternoon. The weather is not the best & today we were not able to do any thing but take shelter while they stow the cargo already on board, the computer system on board is quite good it shows where the Ship has been tracking, we can not anchor in Macquarie Island over night so during the night the Ship travels up & down beside Macquarie Island as you see in this photo showing , gps alt, gps, eta, met, wind, track, etc. The plan is to leave Saturday at 15:00 & arrive Hobart Tuesday 11 of April 06 looking forward to come home after a good trip.

Regards Phil.







After early start on helicopters, they got everyone back from Macca
and after 10.30am we had the Safety Master and then sailed on the way to Hobart.


I would like to thank the Aurora Australis, Tony & Crew who operated under extreme conditions, pumping fuel in big swells and trying to keep the Ship in a stable and fixed position. To all the IRB Crews for their quick efforts getting the rubber boats in and out of shore and trying to keep everybody reasonably dry. To the Pilots and Heli Crew, working under difficult conditions, at times, the boat would be pitching a few metres while the pilot was trying to land the load – very difficult – and there were many loads to land. Thanks to Shane & Andrew who made the entire journey run smoothly.   A JOB WELL DONE.


We got together for the last night and thanked the crew and the kitchen staff for a great adventure.
















The 3 Supremo’s —
Tony Hansen, Captain of Aurora Australis,
Andrew Deep, Deputy Leader, and Shane Hunniford Voyage Leader

Here are some of the new members that have joined up, and on behalf of the Anare club.
I would like to thank them and welcome on board.



Simon Langdon, Logistics Officer at the Antarctic Division, waiting for the crane to unload bags, always ready for the next dispatch



Left to Right: Ray Chivas, Michele Smith, Marilyn Boydell, Chris Sander.




Andrew Cawthorn (Dive Officer) supervising a dive at Casey. Working on Macquarie Island, Mawson and Casey since 2000.


Michele Smith Chef at Casey Station (2006), Mawson (2003 and 2005) Shown here at one of her favourite spots – Fang Peak.





Mary Skotnicki –
Scientist (Plant Molecular Biology) monitoring the moss at Casey station.


Jim Easson
(Physicist and monitors the ozone layer) – always helping out in the kitchen.


Chris Sander (left), Storeman and SAR Leader, Casey 2006,
and Ray Chivas, Macca 2004/05, Casey 2006 Fire Chief and nursing for doctor -
two carpenters at Casey — ready for anything!                                                                                                                                          


Left to Right: Dr Mark Rickard-Bell, Senator Barnaby Joyce, Simon Langdon,
Andrew Cawthorn, Brett Free.



Doug McVeigh, Communications (SCTO).
This year he started working in Mawson, flew to Davis and then to Casey.


Back row L-R: Phil Silvestro, Fiona Simpkin, Tim Price, Geoffrey Francis Beer,
Damian Love, Judy Horsburgh, Doug McVeigh, Roelof Hoebee.

Front row L-R: John Lynn, Dr Mark Rickard-Bell, James Easson, Peter Sprunk, Cath King.



Tim Price – Station Leader at Macca,
and his favourite spot.
He is a plumber and station leader and has spent many years down south since 1986.


Dr. Mark Rickard-Bell,
doctor stationed at Casey 2005-06.




Damian Love –
at work here as a carpenter on Macquarie Island.  He has wintered at Mawson, Casey and Macquarie Island since 1998


Roelof Hoebee –
Technical Officer (Bureau of Meteorology)
at his office desk. Routine inspector of Calibration and Meteorology equipment.



Left to Right: Mick Davidson, Mary Skotnicki, Trevor Bailey, Jack Egerton.



Judy Horsburgh – Catching birds at Macquarie Island to check for parasites. Studies to control diseases in Penguins.


Fiona Simpkin – Chef at Macca.

Famous for her delicious food

as you can see in the background.








Brett Free – Plumber at Macquarie Island. Checking the water supply at Gadgets Gully during resupply.


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